1. Appreciate the Grind
If you start looking at hotels as a chore and all that, your job gets pretty brutal. You have to look at it from the bright side, be positive.
2. WITH LANGUAGE BARRIERS, IT’S SOMETIMES BEST TO LET IT GO
"As we were wrapping-up a young Italian man in RadioShack hat and Beatles tee-shirt asked Nathan to autograph a magazine spread featuring Ryder Hesjedal."
3. BE HAPPY, BE FAST
"Cadel Evans smiled and laughed after the finish today, he looks strong, he looks confident, he looks almost happy, like he’s enjoying himself."
4. KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN
"You can’t have just one guy and one plan. You need options. You need several guys and several plans."
5. DON’T FORGET YOUR FRIENDS
"Robert Vrecer, Team Euskatel, who, after riding through that very same tunnel, recognized some friends on the side of the course, rode over to them smiling-style and high-fived them all as he passed."
6. Surround Yourself with Ambition
You could tell he [Vaughters and Pierce] had the drive to turn it [5280-Subaru] into something, and it was also clear that those were the guys you wanted to be mentored by.
7. Swallow Your Pride
I just assumed that if I want to be good, I needed to eat exactly what they ate, I needed to ride just as hard as they rode, and I needed to pretend to speak French just as well as they actually spoke French.
I needed to make some serious assessments: is this what I want to do, do I want to be a professional cyclist, am I committed to this? The answer was, 'Yes.'
9. Every Fraction of a Percent Counts
Off the bike I do everything possible to eat right, maximize nutrition, train my body and get as fit as possible—all these infinitesimal percentage gains.
10. Dial Your Gear
Having my bike not work as intended is a huge distraction for me while I'm racing, so I make a habit of double checking it the night before.
11. Do it with Passion
I don’t know how to dance, but like most things, I do it with passion. And it turns out ok. I don’t know how to make love and I have six children. I don’t really know how to ride a bike... but I do it with passion.
12. Leaders Make Sacrifices
He’s willing to sacrifice himself week-in and week-out being the road captain, making sure that when Stetina hits the bottom of the climb, Stetina is in a good position.
-Reed McCalvin (on Alex Howes)
13. NURTURE MORE THAN JUST YOUR LEGS
Jasper is going to be successful even if he never wins a classic, even if he never wins a grand tour stage, even if he never wins another race once he goes up to the Pro Tour. He will still be successful and teams will always want to have him around. He’s professional, he’s smart, he cares, he’s well-rounded. He has character.
14. When It’s a Chore, It’s Over
But if you really want to do it, just do it. Have fun. But don’t feel like you have to do it. If it feels like a chore at 14 you’ll never make it.
15. Don’t Ride Blind
You get an idea in your mind of what options you have, what you can try. Moreso, it’s knowing and understanding the roads they are on.
16. Only Winning Counts
I was World Champion and that I won Roubaix as a World Champion. That’s what people remember. They don’t know that I was 3rd another year.
17. Avoid Mistakes, Don’t Compensate for Them
If you make one mistake you're gonna be fucked because in races like this, you can't use your fitness to overcome mistakes. If you do, then you don't have any fitness left to race the bike race.
18. Beat the Clock on Your Opportunities
There's no time limit on getting a real job, settling down, putting some money into a bank. Theres no ticking clock for that. I can go get a job. But I can't turn around one day when I'm 37 and think, "Hey, I want to race Philly.
19. USE SHITTY DAYS AS MOTIVATION
There is no way to express what it feels like to ride up the wall once dropped. I now know what that feels like, and I never want to experience that feeling again.
20. Mind Your Company
If the guys on Bissell don't like somebody that somebody is not going to get on the team, even if that somebody won a stage of the Tour de France.
21. If It’s Possible, Try
I'm not exactly built for these races, and on a day like today I know it's probably time to pull out of the race, but if there's a chance in hell at making it, I want to make it.
22. Maximize Development Time
Everyone wants to move up as fast as possible. They want to ride on the Sky bus and eat from the Garmin chef and have a BMC bike. But wait. Wait as long as possible. Just wait. At the development level, riders are in a closer age range and so their training ability is a little bit closer.
23. Recognize Your Mortality
I tell them they're like water bottles— they’re full now but when they’re empty they'll be thrown away. They laugh and think it’s funny, but it’s true. When they stop working, stop riding on the front, stop winning stages, they won’t be kept around.
24. Keep Perspective on Your Work
The guys that stick around are the ones who really want to do well, but realize that at the end of the day we're riding a bike around in the woods, or in a muddy field. It’s real work, people spend a lot of money and we get paid to do it, but we have perspective.
25. Be Faster Than Those Ahead of You
If you’re sitting there thinking, 'I want to ride for Cannondale CX,' it's not complicated. You have to beat the riders that are on the team right now.
26. Train in Discomfort
Everyone can go out there and ride for four hours, that’s easy. It’s about being comfortable with being uncomfortable—going out there and riding hard for four hours. Pushing yourself.
27. Find Your Balance in Life
Training is easy, I’m not super regimented or dialed. I have to balance it with my quality of life, and the sustainability of the program. I’m not winning the Tour de France, but the guys winning the Tour de France aren’t getting the powder days I am.
28. Preserve Your Love
I quit, but found a different place and way to ride because I love it too much. And now I have a much better connection to my sport because of it.
29. UTILIZE THE OFFSEASON
I knew I wanted to do something the next offseason that I could look back on and say, 'That was cool.'
30. COPE WITH THE SCHEDULE
You have enough little things—a massage at three or a meeting at six—that you can't do anything for longer than a few hours.
31. Worry About Your Own Curve
It would have been cool to have gotten into it earlier and to be further along the curve than I am now, but in 15 years I’ll probably be glad I went to college and did some other non-cycling, real life-type stuff.
32. You Can Always Coach
Everybody coaches, it’s hard not to. If you're a pro you know enough by default to bring a Cat 5 to a Cat 2 without any difficulty. If they do what you tell them to do, at least.
33. Aim to Support Yourself First
Until you break-out however, it's a struggle just to meet your basic human needs, and that struggle can be all-consuming. Escaping that financial pressure/trap...what it does for your racing, it's huge.
34. Don’t Overanalyze
I'm not going to win the Tour de France but I am getting better every year. 15-20 watts a year, that’s how I've been building. It'll slow down eventually, but right now I know I can finally-actually compete in all these races I've been watching on TV for so long.
35. IF YOU PUT YOUR HAND UP, YOU GET THE SUPPORT
When you put your hand up and say that you want the team to ride for you there is a lot of pressure to make a result happen. It's self regulating that way. If you put your hand up, you get the support.
36. ENJOY THE ATMOSPHERE
It wasn't a good race [The 2014 Tour Down Under] for me in terms of results. But the crowds are good and I like the atmosphere.
37. SERIOUSLY, ENJOY THE ATMOSPHERE
Ironically, I kinda hate being cheered when you're not at the front. It feels like you're letting everyone down.
38. IT’S A LONG YEAR, KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
I was realistic about how I'd prepared. You can't ride at the front in the World Tour unless you are are 100% prepared. Physically, mentally and emotionally
39. UNDERSTAND ROMANTICISM VS. “THE GAME”
The first hard race of the year helps you get rid of the romantic view of cycling which you build up during the off season. It reminds you what this game is all about.
40. CONTRIBUTE MORE THAN JUST PEDALING
"12 years later, the reason I stayed afloat in the sport is just by hustling. Contributing to teams and sponsors off the bike, with more than just pedaling."
41. PREPARE FOR THE EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STRESS
"It’s not boring in the peloton, shoulder to shoulder, lots of bumping and elbows and jostling, and then with 40k to go it gets so fast, it’s not the physical stress, it's the emotional and mental stress."
42. MEASURE AMBITION APPROPRIATELY
I’m not going to be able to win the Giro d’Italia but I want to be part of a team that can. So why wouldn’t I work for Ryder, why not do everything I can for him?
43. FIGHT MONOTONY
Sometimes I go on a search to find someone. The other day I found Phinney after about 40 minutes, but It took a while. We'll talk about anything. Just anything. Weird things.
44. THINK BEFORE YOU EAT
You not only have to eat what you want just to get it down (you kind of lose your appetite eventually), but you need to think about how it digests, and the order in which you eat.
45. STAY POSITIVE
The crashes have definitely been low points, they hamper performance but thankfully morale never went down.
46. ENJOY YOURSELF NOW AND THEN
It was Sunday in the peloton today. They were just cruising.
47. IGNORE THE CAMERAS
Christian Vande Velde sat in full-kit near the start ramp for an entire ten minutes, doing nothing, barely moving, while a Stedicam Operator walked around him in concentric circles, moving his rig in and out, up and down.
48. MAKE ALLIES, NOT ENEMIES
He was followed after a beat or two by three Colombians all lined up ONE-TWO-THREE style, each on a different team from the each other: Fabio Duarte (Team Colombia) Betancur (Team Ag2r) and Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky).
49. NEVER LEAVE YOUR MIND AT HOME
You don’t miss home if you neglect it. If you’re not living at home mentally, then you’re fine. But as soon as you start getting pictures of your dog, and you hear about all the snow, then you start missing home and you start thinking, "I wish was there, and you start thinking about your favorite coffee shop and talking to girls in English.